In a house that had more bathrooms than residents (two people cannot need three toilets no matter how you do the math) and was deficient in storage space, it was decided that we could realistically do without one bathroom and could use an extra closet.
The ensuite to our bedroom was the least bathroom used and so the easiest victim. In the five years we lived in the house I think it might have been used once (because it is just too like pee’ing in your own bedroom for my liking) and yet it still had to be cleaned regularly to avoid that stale water smell that floats up from the sewers when the u-bend dries out. Not useful and causing housework – it’s days were numbered.
The brain-wave to remove it was met with some resistance amongst family and friends “You will de-value the property if you remove one bathroom.” “Oh you will never sell it without an en-suite.” As we have no intention of selling until retirement and the value of a property is irrelevant unless you are trying to sell or re-mortgage it (take that negative equity), I threw caution to the wind and proceeded with the plan to rip it out wholesale. That was until my Dad came around to help me, and suggested that I leave all the pipes in place, just seal them off, so that if at some time in the future we do want to re-instate the en-suite it is a relatively easy job. Realising he is way smarter than I am, I took caution back from the wind and went with his plan.
Difficulty of Project:
Some knowledge about plumbing would be helpful, or someone you can ask about it – YouTube is great, but when there is water bursting everywhere you going have time to trawl through search results.
Required for this project:
- A person who can do some seriously heavy lifting (Thanks Dad!)
- The ability to turn off the water while you remove en-suite furniture
- Hammer, chisel, screwdriver (toolbox in general for when something unexpected happens)
- Expanding Foam to cover in the holes where the pipes (I used http://www.polycell.ie/products/polycell_expanding_foam_polyfilla.jsp and got it from Woodies)
- Pipe seals (size this depending on the diameter of your pipes, and Woodies have a big range)
- Paint & painting tools (whatever is hanging around in your press or Woodies, the ole reliable)
- Wood for shelves (I used cheap laminated chipboard from Woodies, but you can go all out on mahogany here if you want)
- Bar for hanging clothes (again, cheap poles from Woodies)
- Bars for shoes (grundtal bars from Ikea project far enough from the wall and are reasonable at e7 a pop.)
Overall Cost of Project:
- As I had things like paint and tools already, the additional costs for this project were the wood for the shelves and the bars for hanging the clothes and shoes. This came to about e350.
Duration of project:
- About three days on and off (we did it over the space of two weeks). You need to let the foam harden overnight and separately you need to let the paint dry overnight, they are the only time delays.
- I wanted to take higher quality images for this post so used my camera. Unfortunately at a crucial part of the project my camera fell down a toilet. It is a cautionary tale of the pitfalls of DIY; had I paid a man it never would have happened. So unfortunately you will have to imagine the in-process images for this project.
- Removing the en-suite was the most daunting part of this project for me, although as soon as we started I realised how easy it was to tear things apart (and discovered that it’s a little therapeutic and addictive). We turned off the water, pulled up the carpet and got stuck in.
- The shower doors unscrew and come out. The base of the shower was held in by grout, so that came loose as we chiselled off the tiles. We remove the tiles in order to get access to the pipes of the shower. We cut the pipes leaving about 20cm exposed, and filled the area surrounding them with the expanding foam. The foam looks and works a little like hair-moose; you just give it a shake and fire it in. The foam fills and bubbles making what looks like a mess, but this hardens overnight and is easily smoothed out with sandpaper the next day. At the base of the shower we caped and sealed the outflow pipe.
- The base of the sink pulls away exposing the u-bend which we emptied. We cut the pipes about 60cm from the ground and sealed them with the pipe seals. Once the pipes are cut the sink and taps pull away. We then boxed the exposed pipes off.
- We emptied the water in the cistern of the toilet and pulled that away. Dad cut the pipes and sealed them off. The seat of the toilet was bolted to the floor, we removed the bolts and toilet came away very easily.
- With all the furniture removed I made the executive decision not to bother re-plaster the room because I figured
- a) it was only ever going to be a closet and
- b) most of the walls would be covered by clothes so nobody would see them.
6. I decided to paint the rough surfaces though, just to make it look more finished.
And then we had it, an empty cream room, brimming with potential.
To see what we made of it read Part Two.